The story of patients and care givers at a Nyimba clinic answering the call of nature in the nearby bush because of blocked toilets is disturbing.
Needless to say this is laziness by the administration. How can they fail to unblock toilets so that patients have easy access instead of being forced to dart in bushes where there are other dangers?
According to a concerned resident, Jarious Banda, the clinic toilets have been blocked for some time, forcing patients to answer the call of nature in the nearby bushes.
This is not only sad but unacceptable. We do not think it is right to subject patients in particular to this kind inhumane treatment.
Zambia is almost 55 years old after attaining independence. This means that we have had self-rule for almost 55 years and should therefore be in a position to make and implement positive decisions to improve the welfare of the people.
We think that health facilities should be the last place to encourage people to use bushes for answering the call of nature.
There are currently, projects in many different parts of the country discouraging locals from open defecation.
This particular project is aimed at ensuring that communities observe hygiene in all their activities.
It does not take much more than open defecation for cholera to break out.
The story of government fight to control the cholera outbreak of 2017 is well known.
More than a 100 people died in the 2017 epidemic and soldiers and other security personnel had to be deployed to control the situation.
In this Nyimba case, Mr Banda has appealed to the Ministry of Health to help improve the sanitation at Nyimba clinic.
Mr Banda said he was saddened with the state in which the toilets and the wards at the clinic were in.
In an interview with the Sun, Mr Banda said when he visited the clinic at the weekend he found the toilets had been blocked for some time.
He said there was need for the Ministry to visit clinics in the rural areas and find out what challenges they faced and how they could be helped.
Mr Banda said because of the blocked toilets patients and other found at the clinic were forced to answer the call of nature in the nearby bush thereby posing a serious health hazard.
This is indeed a sad development which should be looked into urgently.
There is absolutely no reason for delaying the mere blocking of a toilet. It is also incredible to imagine that this problem has been allowed to continue.
This is wrong. The toilets should be worked on immediately. It would be a different matter if we were looking at situation where toilets were not available.
However, the toilets are there, but blocked and therefore not usable. The patients have been forced with the indignity of rushing to the nearby bushes to relieve themselves.
This in itself poses a danger to the clinic and surrounding areas because human waste could easily find its way into the water sources.
This would lead to disease outbreaks as alluded to and it is for this reason that we urge the hospital administration to quickly resolve the matter.
A clean environment is a healthy environment needed for the better care of patients.